The Cleveland Browns are headed into Week 6 against the San Francisco 49ers with more questions than answers surrounding their quarterback and offensive line.
Cleveland’s franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson has yet to return to practice since missing week 4 with a right shoulder injury, and Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitoni, who exited the Browns-Ravens game on a cart.
The rest of the team will have their work cut out for them as they face off against the best team in the NFL, the undefeated San Francisco 49ers.
Here are three players to keep an eye on during the week six matchup:
3. Anthony Walker Jr, LB
Anthony Walker Jr is having one of his best starts to a season, with 19 total tackles through four games and has played on 70% of snaps this season with the Browns defense.
Walker has played a large role in the Browns defense, especially when it comes to stopping the run, like in week 3 when the Browns kept Titans’ running back Derrick Henry to just 20 total rushing yards.
1 Assisted Tackle
4 Total Tackles (3 Solo - 1 Assisted)
1 Quarterback Hit
5 Total tackles (3 Solo - 2 Assisted)
1 Pass Defended
9 Total Tackles (6 Solo - 3 Assisted)
1 Quarterback Hit
Look for Anthony Walker Jr and his fellow linebackers to contain Christian McCaffery’s elite run game to under 100 yards and force Kyle Shannahan to rely on Brock Purdy’s arm instead.
2. Martin Emerson Jr, CB
So far this season, Martin Emerson Jr has been a menace in the secondary for opposing quarterbacks, allowing just four receptions on 16 targets for 85 yards, and eight total tackles.
Emerson Jr’s 25% completion rating is the lowest among Browns cornerbacks who have played over 100 snaps this season.
Look for Martin Emerson Jr to try and lockdown 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to under 100 yards for the third time this season.
1. Jerome Ford, RB
Jerome Ford was put into a tough spot almost immediately at the beginning of the season as the Browns lost their star running back Nick Chubb for the rest of the year with a gruesome knee injury.
Since then, Jerome Ford has answered the team's call as best he can, rushing for 186 yards (46.5 YPG) on 50 carries and one touchdown.
Ford has also been utilized in the passing game, catching ten passes on 15 targets for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
With the absence of Deshaun Watson continuing into week six, Ford will need to be used in a more conservative approach to moving the ball into scoring position.
Look for Ford to see more touches than he did against the Ravens as well as an increase of checkdowns to prevent the offense from as many 3-and-outs as possible.